Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Majeed Memon refuted talks about the Congress being 'boycotted' from a meeting at Sharad Pawar's residence attended by Opposition leaders, saying that it "was about discussing improvements in the political, economic and social environment of the country."
"It is being reported in media that this meeting of 'Rashtra Manch' was held by Sharad Pawar to unite anti-BJP political parties. This is totally incorrect. I want to clarify that this meeting took place at Pawar's residence, but he didn't call this meeting... This meeting was called by Rashtra Manch chief Yashwant Sinha and convened with the help of all founding members and workers of Rashtra Manch. This is being said that Sharad Pawar is taking a big political step and Congress has been boycotted. This is incorrect," Memon was quoted as saying by news agency ANI after the meeting concluded.
Denying any political exclusion or discrimination, Memon pointed out that various Congress leaders, including Manish Tewari, Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Shatrughan Sinha were invited, but some of them expressed "genuine difficulties" (in being able to attend. "The perception that there is going to be a big Opposition group excluding Congress is wrong," he went on to say.
— ANI (@ANI) June 22, 2021
‘COVID Management, Attack on Institutions, Unemployment Discussed’
Opposition leaders from eight political parties – including Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), National Conference, Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal, among others – were at the residence of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar for a meeting on Tuesday.
Among the political leaders who attended the meeting were TMC's Yashwant Sinha, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary, CPI MP Binoy Viswam, SP's Ghanshyam Tiwari and AAP leader Sushil Gupta.
Among the eminent personalities who were present at the meeting were poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar, Justice AP Shah, and former ambassador KC Singh.
CPI(M) leader Nilotpal Basu, meanwhile, said that the meeting was not a political one, but an interaction among like-minded people, with issues like COVID-19 management, ‘attack’ on institutions and unemployment discussed.
The meeting, hosted by Pawar, is of Yashwant Sinha's 'Rashtra Manch', a political action group set up in 2018. Speaking to the media after the meeting, Sinha said it lasted for two-and-a-half hours and many issues were discussed.
" “The summary of today’s meeting is that there is a need for preparation of an alternate vision in the country, that is strong to address the issues related to the common man.”" - SP leader Ghanshyam Tiwari, as quoted by ANIThird Front Speculation Speculation Dismissed
Ahead of the meeting at Pawar’s residence, speculation about a ‘Third Front’ were dismissed, including by political strategist Prashant Kishor.
On Monday, Pawar had held a meeting with Prashant Kishor for the second time in two weeks.
(With inputs from ANI.)
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